Friday, August 31, 2012


I can't believe it. It worked. I don't think I told the whole story yesterday? Yesterday I mentioned stopping by the Realtor and asking for an Air Conditioner.  The kids have been sleeping in the living room and we truly ARE blessed to live off base and have any AC (though we wanted on base so badly 3 years ago ).

She DID put an extra AC in the home next to us before the new neighbors moved in. I asked. She asked how much longer we'll be in the house. She told me the landlord MAY agree to share the Y100,000 cost to put one in. I told her it gets really hot upstairs. She said, she'd talk to him about sharing the cost. 

I walked over to the listings of vacant homes. I noticed our home is the very highest priced home on the board (we have a couple of more in the neighborhood still empty).  I asked her how many AC's were in the single level homes. The same as ours. I said, "Yes, but look the rent is less and I bet the homes would stay cooler than our 2 story home. Hmmm."  

I left...and prayed if God forgave me for the subterfuge (as there is NO WAY I'm moving NOW to move in 11 months), the landlord would offer to put it in for FREE.  I know - bad theology! BUT this a.m. she called and told me he will put in an AC on Monday.... this is she is sort of a scary lady.  The phone calls themselves were funny - but the upshot is - we're getting an AC  in the middle upstairs room and we'll try to move air around with fans. 

I'm only hoping it isn't snowing by Monday. ::snort:: 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Stacia Strikes Again

Yes, we did  school today. That's just the way we are.  Remember, when you hear of us taking time off when your kids are in school, that we just work at it steadily throughout the year. LOL

Michael didn't get in until around 10 p.m. so it seemed wise to have the kids finish this first week of school strong! We'll play the rest of this 4 day weekend. I think.

Yes, Stacia struck again. Today she decided to write a letter to her sisters. NEXT week the family writing project will be to write a letter to each member of the family's Japanese contingent telling them what is most loved about each. ::snort:: 

Translation follows


I have been missing you. I don't know where I want to go when I grow up. (She used to insist she was moving to Tokyo when she grew up). I love you guys, again. You are my best sisters. Arielle doesn't let me use a thing of hers when I ask her very, very nicely. 


Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Thursday, August 30, 2012

GPS Coordinates in Japan

On Simon's Out the Gate Facebook Page several shared GPS coordinates to areas worth exploring around our area. I compiled them into a document and will add to it as I receive more.  I've already saved this to dropbox and loaded it on my ipad. Hope others find it useful. 

*Note for photos, directions of places our family has visited, type the name of the location into the search box in the top left corner of the blog. 
GPS Coordinates in Japan

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Vegetarian Pot Pie (Ashley)


  • 1 T butter
  • 6 C assorted vegetables, thinly sliced or diced. Some ideas
    • bell peppers
    • carrots
    • celery
    • corn
    • green beans
    • leaks
    • onions
    • peas
    • potatoes
    • spinach
    • tomatoes
    • zucchini
  • 1 glove garlic, minced (I used 2 large ones)
  • 1/4 C flour
  • 3 C warm veggie stock (or milk)
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 2 T fresh parsley (or 2 tsp dried)
  • 1 t salt or soy sauce
  • black pepper
  • I added  a handful of Italian seasonings, 1/3 C of cooked pinto beans
  • 1 recipe pie crust

Preheat oven to 400*. 

Melt butter in a sturdy saucepan, add the vegetables and saute for 5 min. Add garlic and saute another 5 minutes. 

Sprinkle flour on top and continue cooking, stirring constantly for 1 - 2 minutes. 

Gradually add the warm liquid, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens. 

Add spices and cook about 10 min more - until veggies are the consistency you like. 

Transfer thickened mixture to a 2 1/2 qt casserole or a pie dish. Cover with pie crust. 

Bake 20 - 30 min. 

Notes: This another vegan recipe from Ashley (if you sub for butter with olive oil). It's another hit!  This recipe is very flexible. Use only one or two veggies, or clean out your fridge like I did. Make chunky or fine. I added about 1/3 C of cooked pinto beans.  I will try less liquid next time. 

I'm known for my wonderful Country Chicken Pot Pie and have been wanting to try something like it with veggies....I may try it next using the same principles learned here....I couldn't figure out how to do it without all the cream...but I bet almond milk would work fine....and this was really very good too. Ashley originally found this recipe at 

V for Vegetable Pot Pie

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Priceless Letter

This deserves it's own blog post. Stacia wanted to write a letter to the boys for handwriting turned out to be long...I'll mail it but I want to save it for our family journal. ::grin:: I have been laughing about it all day. Akiksosan and Arielle thought it was really funny. Nolan and Zander not so much!


I've been missing you boys so much. I wish I could get on a plane and got to you guys. I love you guys so much....just saying it again. I hope you are having a good time in San Angelo. You are my best brothers. Zander can be gruesome and Nolan doesn't do much with me unless it's my birthday. 

Love Again, 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Zander's New Trick

It's 9 p.m. and Michael isn't home....I have time to blog. This was a full day. We didn't make it to the beach, but we got everything else done and the kids had their roast. LOL Michael wasn't tormented as he's working late, but just in case I tried a new recipe for Vegetable Pot Pie so he'd have something more than a salad or beans and rice if he was home for dinner. LOL

The day began with Zander trying out his new recipe for sourdough pancakes.....the kids loved them....good job Zander.

I love Zander's sense of humor. He had written down "1 tsp soda" and KNEW what that meant....but ran and found the loan can of soda from eons ago.....

Sensory issues being what they are he wasn't happy with flipping these....and none of them could TOUCH - he threw one away that touched another - but he did a GREAT job. I couldn't be happier! 

Stacia wins the school funny of the day. She's trying to find the word "drive" to match her photo. I heard her say "Dri....oh it must be a silent "p"....yeah, that's it!" - Um DRIP. LOL

She asked to write a letter to the boys in TX for handwriting. It's priceless and has had us laughing all day. They're going to love it. 

I met with a young friend this a.m. and realized anew that God does really use every last drop of our pain for His good and glory when we surrender it to Him. 

I met with another friend this afternoon and talked PWOC type stuff. 

I made Yuuki legal - paid her pet deposit...and asked about getting another AC for the upstairs. They GAVE the new neighbors moving in one...but it doesn't look hopeful for us. ::snort:: 

I ran by the post office, bank, ITT, JAL to pay for one leg of my domestic ticket to Tokyo/TN. I will get back too late in the day to fly home on the 5th - so I'll have to get a train ticket for the way back. I'm trying to do as much as I can on AA and JAL to save airline miles so I can come back for Japan's regional conference - which will be months after we PCS. 

Akikosan came over to visit tonight. It was a blast to see her after being apart so long. She seemed to really like the U of O mug. I told her to take it to work during football season. LOL 

The kids cleaned the house and did some laundry while I was running full day. 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ye Old Home School Post

Some may be wondering why you've not seen back to school photos or school posts from our family. We school year round. We DO mark moving from one "year" to the next....but this year is a bit complicated. Our unexpected 7 1/2 week summer trip added a bit of chaos to our school.  The books we ordered as we want to spend this year studying Japan's history were returned and had to be reordered...and I think we'll wait until they are here to have our "back to school" festivities..... 

BUT we ARE in full "rolling start" mode. This means we're doing language arts, math, science and a ton of crafts. I've recently restructured MY life and that has opened up the hours to work on the crafts we put aside last year in the craziness of being a PWOC regional president, a PWOC local president and teaching weekly Bible studies.  It's a great thing that our books were sent back to the us time to do all the fun Greek/Roman hands on things I'd set aside....and for THAT the younger two are very happy. 

Our School as it looks this week: 

Arielle (10th) is doing Year 3 of Tapestry of Grace (as a high schooler this time - was middle school last time) and will be covering the 1800's; classic lit, government et al. She also finished Secrets of Great Communicators (speech), spelling/phonetic zoo, and logic in the last few weeks. This year she will continue on Japanese, use Family Chemistry, Culinary Arts, Foundations of Personal Finance by Dave Ramsey, Geometry, Computer Essentials (still looking for a text - considering this one).  For Japanese, we'll continue to tutor with Akikosan, she is also working through both Pimsleur and Rosetta Stone.  It is NICE to have walked high-school five previous times....many of the choices are basic. We did switch science for Arielle. Yes, we are aware of the controversies surrounding the publisher. We love Apologia but the chemistry course just hasn't worked well for many of our kids....I'm not a science geek and Michael doesn't have the hours to answer the friend, Chris, the Chemistry teacher has previewed this and says it's the first high school level course she's been excited about since Apologia and she learned things from it. 

Nolan (8th) will study Japanese history along with Zander, Stacia and I. We'll use a variety of books for the spine of the history, add in historical novels set in Japan or dealing with Japanese history (may do some on the American internment camps though I know they cover it in Year 4) and go on as many field trips and cultural experiences as we can fit in in the next 11 months. He'll have his own grade appropriate novels and history book.  He'll  take Pre-algebra, we're tailoring a writing program using the writing assignments in TOG but the books and topics he's studying,Phonetic Zoo, Apologia General Science

Zander (4th) will do the above for history. We'll continue to work through Explode the Code, Gamma in Math U See (moving to Delta), and science. Our really big goal is to finish all the readers from I See Sam.  This is probably unattainable...but I'm challenging him. He's currently on set 3 and there are 8 sets.  We're finishing up Land Animals and I'm still praying about moving into Astronomy or Anatomy. We won't really need to make this decision for a few more months. I'm leaning towards catering to Zander's current obsession with space.  He'll also write at least one Scripture verse a day. A few notes on Zander....he's on the spectrum and for some kids reading comes along just fine. For him, it hasn't. He's reading at about a late first grade level. We were told to teach him sight reading as he'd not make the connections for phonics...but he IS connecting. So the phonics, explode the code etc is not what a typical 4th grader would be doing....BUT he's learning to read and we'll get there. He's smart. He's doing fine with math. He loves computers. He love science. He does not love language arts and phonics. Social skills continue to be an area we train. 

Stacia (1st) will do the above for history.  She'll work on Explode the code 4-6, continue in I See Sam (she's about to begin set 3), Getty-Dubay Italic handwriting series, write a verse daily, Alpha Math U See, and do science with Zander. 

Astute readers will quickly see that Stacia provides motivation for Zander. She's actually further academically than our first graders are typically, she has loved to simply sit and listen to Zander's lessons for the past 3 years. You can pray for this dynamic....motivation is good, I foresee her passing Zander in a few months unless God blesses him with one of his learning spurts where he learns a years' worth of material in a month.  This will provide great character training for Stacia.

I did mention I'm restructuring my life (another post ::snort::) and have created more time to focus on school with Zander and Stacia this year. Stacia doesn't seem to need it - Zander does.  If you've read this far - WOW - mostly this serves as a road map for our school year for my failing memory. ::snort:: It's about the only scope and sequence I'll do and I'll add what we ACTUALLY do to the record of the year as we do it. 

Now for some glimpses into our day....Zander surprised me by asking me to make sourdough pancakes. I was agreeable as I had starter about to take over the kitchen. I set a double match of English muffin dough going and made pancakes. He blew me away by asking me to read the recipe as I cooked so he could write it down and learn to make them himself. Come to think of it he's been running with Arielle and they have a nutrition contest going on - I wonder if I SHOULD go with anatomy..... so this was handwriting and I was proud of him. I did finally give him the ipad to copy from. 

Logic/Explode the Code....frustrates Zander.....this is write after he read, "You will put the kettle on the stove...." and he said "NO - I don't drink tea."  It struck me funny - I told him to mark yes. 

No day is complete without stopping phonics to watch the GIANT dragonfly! 

We are adding lots of drill this year. Stacia was 3 when we moved here and I suspected I should be sure to teach her American money. Yep - everything was "25 yen" etc. We'll make all our drill into games. 

I was SO impressed when we were in our Science text and I read, "How do you think you tell the difference between a monkey and an ape." I didn't expect them to know. Stacia informed me, just a bit condescendingly, "Monkeys have tails and apes don't." I was so pleased. I ruined it by asking them how they knew these facts. Here Stacia tells me, "Simple, Donkey Kong doesn't have a tail and Diddy Kong does." VERY condescendingly. 

There you have it - proof that the wii can be educational? Sorry kids - still limiting your time - and no, you can't count it as science. ::snort:: 

Arielle REALLY IS doing school. She's knitting while she listens to Japanese tapes. 

Nolan wonders why Mom is stalking everyone with the camera but he gamely poses with the Phonetic Zoo.

We were determined to start working through some of the planned hands on activities we set aside last year.....Today we made mosaic place mats.....starting with a "plan". I warned them to keep it simple....Stacia's only had 2 mermaids and 2 and 2 palm trees......

The conversation was fun as they  began to realize the time it takes to put all the little tiles together. 

Zander with waves, tree and sun....

Stacia gave up on the mermaids and made a flower, tree and sun instead.

Thus ends another day of school....and the afternoon play began. It is so refreshing to take a couple of hours to swim at the beach before dinner and evening routines. 

They had a lot of fun with this log and are convinced it is covered with hieroglyphics.

Great sand fortress. 

Michael was out again until around 7:30 or 8:00 p.m. We were discussing what to do for dinner.  When Stacia showed up.....

"I know what you can cook for dinner, Mom."

"OK, what?"


"THAT is not vegan. Ok, I'll cook it tomorrow."

I think tomorrow will be a test of willpower as the roast slow cooks.  OK - let me remind readers, I decided to give the vegan plus lifestyle (no sugar, no caffeine, no soy, no preservatives/chemicals)  a 6 week whirl. Michael joined me. We did NOT make the kids switch. They ARE eating meat and dairy and plenty of honey.  I simply haven't wanted to cook one of Michael's favorites while we were abstaining from meat....but there you have it. I am guessing he will have to work late Thursday to get admin details for Sunday done as the weekend is supposed to be off and he'll want it maybe he can avoid the whole roast temptation.

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Tuesday, August 28, 2012


We seem to be back into the "fall swing" - sort of. Our school books are still not here - but we had such a "short" summer that we are combining our "rolling start of school" (in other words we only took a break while in the states anyway) with late afternoon trips to the beach etc. 

Monday morning found me racing out of the house for a MOPS steering meeting. I've still not updated my calendar with all the new meeting times et al - and barely remembered this one. I really LOVE the MOPS theme this year. I won't share now - because our first MOPS meeting is coming up shortly - and I bet Carrie will reveal it. 

Monday afternoon I had a couple of PWOC meetings....and took care of some International Conference tidbits....mainly found a ticket from Tokyo to Nashville which will work with my need to have 24 hour travel days instead of 36 - 48 hour days. LOL  PWOC International Conference will be Nashville, TN this year. Mary Kassian  (Girls Gone Wise) will speak, Laura Story will lead worship....God will be welcomed to be in and through all. 
Via Google Images

This morning began with a regional Skype Prayer meeting at 06:30. It's always a joy to connect with our board and to pray for the ladies in Japan and Guam. I am constantly reminded that each of these women are direct answers to prayer in my life. 

Via Google Images
Today was the first Bible study of the local PWOC year. We had a great turn out with lots of new ladies. This year's board did a great job! We had a few last minute changes and our leadership team flexed like pros - semper gumby!!! continues to be my personal motto.  I chose to attend the group which will be digging into I Timothy - no curriculum...just 12 women, the word and a few tools Becky will share with us along the way. It promises to be fun. I heard good things about each of the other groups as well. 

I attended a meeting after PWOC...ran to the BX....then....
She took Liz' tip about the Ziploc bag

Stacia loves her brothers

Today's fun conversation with Stacia: 

Stacia: Mom I need a new swim suit. 

Me: OK. 

Stacia: Really, Mom can I get any type I want?

Me: ( careful, think before answering!) What kind do you want? 

Stacia: A swimsuit with a hole in it? 

Me: Huh? 

Stacia: You know - a swimsuit with a hole in the tummy. 

Me: A bikini - no, you may not have a bikini. What other kind would you like? 

Stacia: One of those with the long sleeves and skirts? 

Me: Wild laughter......I don't think she quite knows what she wants yet. LOL We talked. 

Well, Michael left at 06:30 this a.m. It's nearing 20:00 now and I don't see him. I think I'll turn off the computer and go read. The kids are down....this fall schedule can be a killer the first week or two, can't it? ::grin:: 

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Beach Baptisms (and Parish Picnic)

This was a great day celebrating with those who make up the Misawa Protestant Parish. We had a join service, a baptism, BBQ, canoes, paddle boats, motor boats (and all the fun that comes with that), two bouncy castles and lots of fun.

The setting was beautiful. Michael spoke from I Peter (the goal is to make it through I Peter before we PCS - we're about done with Chapter One) about a sincere, fervent love of the brethren. This is a repeated theme of recent sermons in our various services. I love it when the Holy Spirit weaves a theme through a parish.

At the end of the service Michael and Ch. C called those who were to be baptized to the lake.....we all crowded around the shore. There are a variety of doctrinal views of baptism represented at our parish - but many commented on how special it was to have these three take this step with the whole faith community present. 

They made their professions of faith and were each baptized. What a joy it was to watch Arielle be baptized. She'd always refused the whole notion due to her dislike of being front and center.... When the timing was right, God impressed the desire to obey the Word and she followed.

Nolan was next. There is simply no greater joy than watching your children follow God, take these milestones of the faith.

Terribly fun to be connected to Randy and Tina forever now as our children shared their baptism site and date. 

 I do think three youth choosing to be baptized today is a tribute to not only parents, God's wooing....but the mentoring of our AMAZING youth staff. 
Love this photo I snagged during prayer....I couldn't help it.

I have seventy photos - I won't share all - but I'll share the ones which I think the subjects wouldn't mind being on our blog. Now that we print the blog and it's our only photo album....I really want to capture some of our friends.  Love this family and am so glad they'll PCS the same summer we do. ::snort:: Samson and Reba are delightful and Reba can always be counted on to deliver HUGS. 

Love Susi, Richard and Ricky - Our Yuuki benefactors

The kids loved tubing and canoeing around the lake....funny thing happened when Michael, Stacia and I went out. We discovered Alecia and Arielle in the water beside their canoe. ::snort:: Alecia jumped in, Arielle jumped in to help her get back into the canoe....and there you have it. 

It was a great day!

Choosing Joy!
©2012 D.R.G.
~Coram Deo~
Living all of life before the face of God...